Sunny Bank Mills, the historic Yorkshire mill complex between Leeds and Bradford, has won a major honour in the inaugural Yorkshire Business Insider Placemaking Awards.

The 10-acre Victorian mill, one of the most famous family-owned mills in Yorkshire, won the prestigious Best Use of Heritage in Placemaking category.

The award was presented at a glittering ceremony at the Life Centre in Bradford, which was sponsored by Bradford UK City of Culture 2025 and Social Communications.

During the past 12 years Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley has been transformed into a modern office and mixed-use complex for the 21st century, creating 400 sustainable new jobs with 113 business units and studios. The mills welcome 750,000 visitors a year.

The judges commented: “This was a thoroughly deserved award for a very impressive entry. Apart from nurturing and sustaining a wide variety of businesses, boosting the local economy, Sunny Bank Mills preserves and promotes West Yorkshire’s rich industrial heritage via the Sunny Bank Mills Museum and Archive.

“The development is superb and an absolute asset for the area and we believe that the mills’ achievement is what placemaking – and these inaugural awards – are all about.

Placemaking is about the impact on people and communities. And Sunny Bank Mills’ impact has been massive.”

John Gaunt, joint MD with his cousin William, commented: “This is a huge honour for us and we are tremendously proud to have won. The award is not just an endorsement of what we are trying to achieve here, but also a reflection on the talent and dedication of our hard-working and tight-knit team. This award is primarily for them.”

William Gaunt added: “This award is all about celebrating community, which is at the core of all we do. In their heyday, our mills were the heartbeat of Farsley and we are so glad that they have a similarly prominent role today. That is what we’d like our legacy to be and that is why this award means so much to us.”

The other shortlisted candidates for the Best Use of Placemaking award were: Dean Clough, Halifax; the Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds; and the Ripon Spa Hotel.

Ian Leech, the editor of Yorkshire Business Insider, added: “I am delighted that we have brought this event to Bradford. That came from the encouragement of event sponsor Bradford City of Culture 2025, a year of events which could be the catalyst for lasting change and economic prosperity there.”